Top Home Mold Test Recommendations
My favorite home mold tests include:
- ERMI Dust Sampling
- Indoor Environmental Professional Inspection
- Canary Testing
I help my patients figure out the best companies and professionals to connect with for home testing as we work together.
ERMI Dust Sampling
To date, the best initial screening that you can do at home for mold is surface or air PCR testingalso referred to as ERMI testing.
The ERMI test was developed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a means of determining the relative moldiness of a home compared to a group of reference homes that do not have mold. This type of testing involves collecting possible mold samples with a dust cloth kit on surfaces where you suspect mold may be present. The cloth is able to pick up mold DNA on the surfaces of walls, furniture and places it may be, as well as the air. After collection, you or the mold inspector send it back to the lab for testing and mold identification under a microscope.
Some people claim that mold plate testing can work too, but keep in mind, it is not very sensitive. Mold spores differ in weight, density, and air flow characteristics, so some types are more likely to settle on the plates than others. Sticky molds that often appear near water damage, like black mold, may end up evading the plates completely.
Air Purifiers For Black Mold
Whether youre in the mold remediation process, are currently testing for black mold or just suspect its presence, you need to protect yourself. Scientific studies have shown that running a high-quality air purifier can drastically reduce mold in the air. However, not all air purifiers are up to the task. When youre dealing with potentially dangerous airborne contaminants like black mold, its important to buy the best.
At Air Oasis, were proud to produce some of the most powerful air purifiers on the market. Whether you need to remove odors, VOCs, viruses and bacteria, smoke, allergens or mold, weve got you covered. Our air purifiers harness multiple purification technologies to provide you with comprehensive coverage. Questions about air purifiers and mold? Wed love to hear from you! Visit us online or give us a call at .
How Do You Know If You Have Mold Poisoning
Mold not only looks bad but can also be harmful to your health when you are exposed to its spores. It can appear in many forms and grows in areas that experience constant moisture and high levels of humidity. For instance, you may notice some white patches on your floor, slimy black spots on your shower curtain or a slick orange film on your kitchen drain. Regardless of the appearance, mold can make you sick especially if you have a low immune system or suffering from asthma and allergies. People who are very sensitive to mold can experience allergic reactions when they accidentally inhale the spores or when it encounters their skin. This article looks at how to know if you have mold poisoning.
- Allergic Reactions to Mold
The longer you are exposed to mold, the more your body will be sensitive to it causing severe allergic reactions. When you inhale or ingest mold spores, your immune system defense will react against the foreign particles through sneezing, wheezing, or coughing. The more you are exposed, you tend to develop other symptoms such as shortness of breath, itchy skin, watery eyes, and persistent irritation along your respiratory tract.
- Physical Examination
- Blood Tests
- Skin Tests
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How Do You Keep Mold Out Of Buildings And Homes
Inspect buildings for evidence of water damage and visible mold as part of routine building maintenance, Correct conditions causing mold growth to prevent mold growth.
Inside your home you can control mold growth by:
- Controlling humidity levels
- Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes
- Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding
- Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.
Other Diagnoses That Influence Labs & Symptoms
In conclusion, mold illness can be frustratingly difficult to diagnose, but is refreshingly responsive to treatment, especially when a patient is willing to do what it takes to remove themselves from the exposure. Unfortunately, finding a doctor or medical practitioner who knows about mold and who will look to a patients environment for the cause of their symptoms is still the exception, rather than the rule. Wanting to help you close that gap is the main impetus for me writing this article today. If nothing else, you can print out this list of tests and take it to your primary care physician and ask that they run the labs necessary to begin compiling information from which to make a diagnosis. The abovementioned labs and proper testing of your environment can lead you to some pretty conclusive evidence that mold is or is not the cause of your symptoms. Should you wish to work with me directly, I currently offer phone consults. You can contact me through my site www.thebodynexus.com and by going to the Medical Consults section on the Services page.
Questions? Comments? Responses to this article or suggestions for future topics? Write to us below or email us at .
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Testing For Mold In Your Home
If you hire a professional mold inspector to come to your home, theyll take samples from three areasthe air, the surface, and surrounding dust. They send these samples to a third-party laboratory to find out the concentration and kinds of mold in those particular areas.
However, this procedure takes time and isnt cheap. Fortunately, testing for mold in your home is a relatively easy task that can give you faster results and save you money. If youve done everything you can to prevent mold but still have reason to think the air you breathe is compromised with mold spores, check strategic locations for visible signs of mold.
Common areas of mold growth include:
- Areas around plumbing lines, even behind the drywall
- Below sinks
- Coils of HVAC air handlers or ductwork
- Between the furniture and exterior walls, particularly in basements or concrete block houses
Identifying Mold In Your Home
- Appearance or dark spots or clusters. Look for spots or clustered growths, especially in warm, moist rooms.
- Musty smell. You may be able to identify mold by a musty smell.
- Allergies or asthma. If you experience asthma attacks or allergy symptoms in your home, that may also indicate theres mold.
- Potential causes. Look for causes of mold growth, like a leak, water damage, lack of ventilation, or old food, papers, or wood.
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Air Oasis Air Sanitizers
Air Oasis air sanitizers work differently than HEPA filters. They use a technology developed by NASA called advanced hydration photocatalytic oxidation to destroy mold, bacteria, and other microorganisms with ultraviolet light and a catalyst. We have a few of the Air Angel units in smaller rooms, as well as an AO3000 in the main living area. Important note: I currently recommend running the AO units only when you are not in the rooms, and turning them off when you enter. This is due to the small amounts of ozone that they release. Though these levels are well below the recommended limit according to AOs website, I prefer to be cautious. I also recommend using a HEPA/charcoal filter along with the AO devices, rather than using them on their own.
How To Test For Black Mold
Do you keep getting a whiff of something musty in your bathroom or basement? Afraid it might be mold? Learn about three of the most popular kits to test for mold at home.
Its no secret that damp areas of the home provide the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to grow. Whether your nose knows, or your eyes spy dark spots in strategic locations, you want to make sure.
Mold doesnt just eat away at your wood, wallpaper, or grout. Its spores get airborne and cause all kinds of health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says enough evidence exists to link mold to upper respiratory tract symptoms like itchy eyes and runny nose to cough and wheeze in otherwise healthy people.
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Mold Symptoms Mold Symptoms Can Range From Moderate To Severe Both The Us Centers For Disease Control And The Us Environmental Protection Agency Have Classified Mold Toxins As Cancer Causing The Health Effects Can Vary Greatly Depending On 4 Risk Factors Below Is A Brief Description Of Each One
Mold Spore Levels
Concentrated amounts of mold spores can amplify mold symptoms. When preforming air quality testing, elevated mold spore counts are defined as the indoor levels of mold spores being at higher levels than naturally occurring outdoors. Often the higher an environments mold spore count, the more severe mold symptoms can become.
Time of Mold Exposure
Prolonged mold exposure can lead to a host of mold symptoms including mycotoxicosis. Mold fine and ultra-fine particulates build up in the human body over time. Often the longer you are in a mold contaminated environment the higher your risk factors become for more severe health effects.
Mold toxins have been connected to some of the most harmful mold symptoms. Mold will produce toxins at different points of its life cycle. A dangerous toxin that comes from mold are mycotoxins. Mycotoxins will attach to fine and ultra-fine mold spore particulates making them extremely difficult to remove from the human body. Mycotoxins have been classified as a carcinogen by the CDC and EPA.
Mold can affect everyones immune system in drastically different ways. Your immune system will dictate mold symptoms such as allergic reactions and invasive fungal infections. It is not uncommon for one member of the household to have more adverse mold symptoms than another. If left untreated mold exposure can lead to a lowered or compromised immune system.
What Are Symptoms And Signs Of Mold Exposure
Molds produce irritating substances that may act as allergy-causing substances in sensitive individuals. Furthermore, some molds produce toxic substances known as mycotoxins, but mold itself is not poisonous or toxic. The term “toxic mold,” therefore, refers to the fact that certain kinds of mold can produce mycotoxins. The conditions under which some molds produce toxins are not understood, and the presence of mold, even a mold that is capable of producing toxins, does not always imply that toxins are being produced or that a health risk or problem is present. Mold may not cause any health problems, or it may lead to allergy or other symptoms in people, including adults and children, who are sensitive to molds.
Allergic reactions to mold are the most common health effects of mold and are therefore the greatest health risk related to mold. Allergic reactions may happen immediately or develop after a period following exposure. Both growing mold and mold spores may lead to allergic reactions. Symptoms and signs of mold allergy may include
Mold or mold spores may cause asthma attacks in people who have asthma and are allergic to mold. Even in some non-allergic individuals, mold can cause symptoms of irritation in the eyes, skin, and airways. For example, the “black mold”Stachybotrys, along with some other types of mold, produces toxins known as mycotoxins that can cause irritation of the skin and airways in susceptible individuals.
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Can Mold Harm My Health
Most types of mold do not harm people. In fact, doctors use some varieties to improve health. For instance, penicillin is a useful mold that has saved many peoples lives. However, not all molds are beneficial. In fact, people often develop health issues when they come into contact with harmful species of molds.
If you are in an environment with a large mold presence, you may breathe in mold spores. The antigens in these spores can enter your body and cause a variety of harmful health conditions.
What Happens If You Eat Food With Mold
The thought of eating something moldy likely makes you want to gag. Most of the time, this is the only symptom youd get after eating moldy food. If somethings not right with your immune system and you eat something moldy, you might experience symptoms like:
- If you had an allergy to mold, then you might have symptoms connected with it as well
If you notice mold on your food that you dont want to throw away, then USDAs guide on handling moldy food will be for you.
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Myths About Black Mold
Its important to address myths some people may have about black mold. One common rumor is that black mold releases toxic compounds called mycotoxins that cause health issues, like memory loss, headaches, and infant pulmonary hemorrhage.
But according to a review from 2017, theres no evidence that exposure to black mold causes particular health conditions.
Furthermore, while a variety of molds produce mycotoxins, these compounds are primarily dangerous for humans only when eaten in significant quantities.
A 2019 review of research into this topic states theres currently no evidence that mycotoxins in the air cause disease.
Who Can Test Me For Mold Illness
You may wonder how to get these tests done, and in this age of insurance-based medicine it can be a challenge. Apart from the nasal swab, the bloodwork may be handled by a cooperative primary care physician, or by going to a facility such as Any Lab Test, which will run them for you. The best route is to seek care from a knowledgeable ENT specialist, such as Dr. Dennis, or from a physician trained in Environmental Medicine. Go to American Academy of Environmental Medicine for a list of practitioners by state.
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Which Molds Produce Mycotoxins
Molds are everywhere in our environment. No one knows how many varieties there are, however estimates range from tens of thousands to more than 300,000. Most types of molds dont cause adverse health effects, while others the toxic molds give off the mycotoxins that can be very dangerous.
Some molds, like the ones used to make certain cheeses, are edible. Others that grow on a wide array of foodstuffs including bread, soy, corn, dried fruit, coffee, peanuts, and many others can either be harmless or give off mycotoxins, depending on the type. Below is a chart of the most common types of toxic molds found in homes and the mycotoxins they produce.
Clean And Remediate Mold Damage
A positive result on any DIY or professional mold test indicates the need for mold removal. Once again, property owners have the option to attempt mold cleanup or schedule professional residential or commercial mold removal.
Depending on the extent of a structure affected by mold, limited or full containment may be necessary during cleanup to keep and infestation from spreading. If mold affects 10 square feet or a larger portion of any structure, professional removal services are worthwhile to limit exposure risks and ensure that remediation is complete.
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Removing Mold From Your Home
Resolve any issues causing mold growth, and throw away anything affected by mold or contributing to mold growth that you cant clean.
- Wear protective gear. As youre dealing with the moldy area, cover yourself with a mask, gloves, goggles, and rubber boots. If youre cleaning a lot of mold, you can also wear disposable clothing or a mold-resistant suit.
- Ventilate the room. Open all doors and windows to increase ventilation.
- Sort and discard. Remove any objects from the area that havent been touched by mold growth. Throw away any items that cant be cleaned.
- Replace moldy housing materials. Cut away and replace mold-damaged drywall, ceiling tiles, and carpet.
- Scrub and disinfect. Cover and scrub nonporous surfaces affected by mold with bleach, a fungicide, or detergent and water, then dry them. Dont mix cleaning products together.
- Address any water issues. Make sure any water problems are fixed and the area is dry before you renovate the room.
How Are Mold Allergies And Exposure Diagnosed
There are no proven tests that show when or where you may have been exposed to mold.
But your doctor may check for mold allergies by reviewing your symptoms and performing one of the following tests:
- Blood test. Your doctor takes a blood sample and then sends it to a laboratory to measure the number of certain antibodies, which can indicate your immune systems sensitivity to different mold species.
- Skin prick test. Your doctor takes a small amount of mold and applies it to your skin using a tiny needle. Your skin will break out in bumps, a rash, or hives if youre allergic to that type of mold.
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Effective Treatment For Symptoms Of Mold Exposure
Get Your Home Tested Properly
Proper mold inspection requires hiring an experienced Indoor Environmental Professional that uses various testing techniques to ensure there has not been water damage leading to mold growth in your home. When someone is sick in the household, the degree of mold testing needs to be more comprehensive than if someone was doing a general home inspection. I have witnessed mold inspectors miss water damage and mold growth in patients homes because they did not do a thorough investigation, or used the wrong testing methods.
Proper testing for mold helps to establish the scope of work for remediation. It is a conflict of interest to hire an inspector who also does remediation. However, most reputable inspectors can recommend a contractor who specializes in mold remediation.
To find a certified IEP in your area, visit www.acac.org and look for CIEC and CMC certifications. You will also find certified remediators with CMRS and CMR designation.
Treatments for mold Illness
Prescription medications and supplements referred to as binders are used to reduce the mycotoxin burden in the body. Technically these compounds do not bind mycotoxins, but they adsorb like static cling. Mycotoxins are secreted with bile from the gallbladder into the intestines. Mycotoxins adhere to binders in the intestines and then excreted through the stool.
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